by Tony "Tosh" Brooks
The refurb continues ...
The heavy plywood floor was ripped out and refitted in lighter timber after laying the first fix wiring etc for the 12v and 240v electrical system.
Every piece of internal board was torn out as it was all rotten, damp and smelly, and it needed to be properly insulated anyway. This allowed me again to run first fix wiring for the ceiling lights, cd speakers, and tv wiring etc. A large sunroof was cut into the roof, to allow more natural light in than a standard roof vent, and any rotten wood in the main frame was replaced with new stronger timber.
I had some really smart double glazed caravan windows, which came with built in internal concertina blinds and fly screens; luckily they were just the right size for the sides. They would allow me room to fit the overhead lockers, and TV bracket etc without getting in the way.
Alison insisted that we had to have a toilet and wash basin as part of the interior build. If we go to long weekend classic car shows and the like you can’t beat having your own private facilities, and after many years experience of caravan and camper outings, I just had to agree. So the only place I could possibly fit this was directly behind the drivers seat. This meant re-siting the main car battery, which was presently fitted right where the closet floor needed to be! It would be “cosy” but functional and well equipped, with an electric flush cassette toilet and hot and cold water corner wash basin with mixer tap.
The petrol tank was protruding through the floor at the rear, and this had to be removed in order for me to be able to put the fridge and oven in position later. There was plenty of room under the chassis to fit a different tank, and we ended up fitting a brand new Land Rover one, which worked out really well; it had the capacity we needed and the filler pipe was exactly where we needed it to be.
While I was busy with the rear build, Gus had re-built the engine and fitted the new gearbox to it. It looked like a brand new motor with everything cleaned, polished and painted. We were ready for a bench test so he fitted the radiator, and ran a fuel line from a can, then connected a battery. After a few false starts, it fired into life and sounded awesome without the exhaust fitted!!
Unfortunately this was when we noticed the radiator was leaking from several places, so rather than messing around trying to seal it, we ordered a brand new one, which would have a modern core and help greatly with any future over-heating issues. With that and the new Kenlow electric fan, we were confident it would be one less thing to worry about when travelling long distances.
The front sub frame and cross members etc were all under sealed and painted before dropping the engine and box back in. The exhaust was new, the manifolds were sand blasted and re-painted, we had a full set of new gaskets, so it was all pretty straight forward and looked 'the business'.
We read that the vague steering could be much improved by altering the caster angle, and swapping the rubber sub frame mounts for solid ones, so we had some new mounts made and some spacers and longer pegs to alter the caster angle. As it turns out it now steers 100% better, and feels much safer on the road.
Finally the new roof and siding material was delivered, after a much longer wait than we expected. This allowed me to get the paint matched to the colour of the side panels, and also to get on with top coating the front end body panels. Although my work unit is by no means ideal for spray painting, the final finish wasn’t bad and we were very pleased with it. I used two pack paint so this allowed me to flat off and polish up any slight imperfections and rub the flies out!
The next job was to fit the sides which was pretty straight forward, and we had hoped to drop the roof panel on in one continuous 7m length, but this proved too tricky and awkward to handle. We ended up having one cut on the underneath part above the car roof and another cut on the top front curve, as it was too sharp a bend to carry it all the way over the rest of the roof. The joints were are properly sealed and trimmed with aluminium mouldings so hopefully we wont have the same water ingress issues in future.
One of the hardest jobs was mitreing the corner mouldings. With all the different angles, each section had to be slit and curved to follow the contours of the body. It took for ever to get (almost) perfect, but we were happy enough with it, and with the black moulding inserts fitted it looked very neat.
Next time ... the work continues!
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